Skip to main content

Grateful Dead Live at Avalon Ballroom on 1969-01-26

Audio Preview

Grateful Dead Live at Avalon Ballroom on 1969-01-26

Set 1

Cryptical Envelopment > Drums > The Other One > Cryptical Envelopment > Clementine > Death Don't Have No Mercy

Set 2

Dark Star > St Stephen > The Eleven > Turn On Your Love Light

Other artists on bill: Sons of Champlin, Initial Shock; Eleven > Lovelight from this show appear on Live Dead

Collection GratefulDead
Band/Artist Grateful Dead
Venue Avalon Ballroom
Location San Francisco, CA

Source SBD -> Master Reel -> Dat (44.1k)
Lineage Dat (Sony R500) -> Sound Devices 744T -> Samplitude Professional v11.03 -> FLAC
Transferred by Charlie Miller


-- Mix problems in beginning of show
-- Reel flip in Dark Star
-- Thanks to Rob Eaton for lending me his Dats


Reviewer: MichaelTurner-sfs - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 27, 2017
Subject: MIDNIGHT SUN Review
MIDNIGHT SUN #20 – Grateful Dead at the Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA – January 26, 1969 – the source of The Eleven and Turn On Your Lovelight on Live/Dead!

Reviewer: c-freedom - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 26, 2016
Subject: Death Don't Have no Mercy
Hey if you are going to introduce the band how about something like ;
The band that will one day make time travel a necessity for all students of American Rock and Roll in the 20th century...
Anyhow, the sound when it is good is very good here but when it dips it fades into like being outside the show and trying to listen thru the emergency exit doors or a drainpipe. Note: Only one spot that I really noticed a sound issue.
The intensity ramps up every night of this Avalon run. They are blazing here. And yes whoever is playing the organ is right up in the mix.
This has that dripping psychedelic vibe to it. Almost like a Cold Rain and Snow from 1965!
The drummers are really pounding it...
"And when the day had ended, his mind remained unbend-ed,,, you know he had to die"
When i listen to Garcia sing from this era it seems to me he is less polished, he really will just scream lyrics at emotional points in the tune. I really like it but on the other hand I think as Hunter matures as a song writer he brings Garcia tunes that just fit perfectly with Garcia's voice and disposition. Tunes like 'B.E.Woman', 'Eyes of the World' and 'He's Gone'
Clementine is a peach but seems a bit labored for JERRY, which being a Phil tune should come as no surprise. I actually see no reason why Phil couldn't pull this tune off at a day and time of his choosing.
Garcia seems like he wants no part of the lyrics and just launches out on a nice solo...
Which brings Phil in as well on bass.
Another round of lyrics and then an all out jam...
Too bad they could not have continued doing this as an instrumental it took them awhile but the jam is pretty sweet once they get around to it.
The organ sounds pretty trippy at the end.
They came to play and just jam thru the entire 1st set. A tight set of music and under the Avalon time cutoff.Which in this case may benefit them because it keeps them focused on the music at hand.
Look how much more confident JERRY is with the Lyrics for 'Death Don't'. You need look no furthur if you want to know why Clementine would get dropped. That Death Don't was EPIC!
Also would like to thank Mr. Miller
for not chopping up the tracks,
it flows so nicely this way...
Reviewer: MR.SUNSHINE - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 26, 2014
Subject: Great
This is an awesome show! I hope it gets a full release someday. T.C is one of the reasons I love 69 dead so much, and he is not buried in the mix like he is in a quite a few other recordings. The highlight for me here is the Clementine, I think TC added a lot to the song and would like to hear other versions with his playing though this may be it. The sound quality here is the best IMO on the archive, thanks for the upload!
Reviewer: chris phillips - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 22, 2014
Subject: Stephen's, Eleven's, Other One's and Love Light's
Grateful Dead winter of '69 is quintessential.
The Avalon shows are up there with the Fillmore shows for psychedelia.
I am partial to 1970 Dark Star's and 1968 Alligator's.
Reviewer: njpg - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 28, 2013
Subject: Terrific show,
early mix problems notwithstanding. The Other One thru Death Don't is some of the finest Dead you'll ever hear. I think the main good thing about the Eleven -> Lovelight is that it fit on an album, but it isn't any better than a hundred from '69 or '68.
Reviewer: doug_the_dude - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 26, 2013
Subject: --
You can take your old copy of Live/Dead out for a game of ultimate frisbee after gaining access to Charlie Miller's remaster of this legendary show; this Avalon run did have a lot of mixing problems on the masters; thankfully, this one is preserved wonderfully. The Other One suite is, unfortunately, a tough go and is best left out; given the myriad of other jaw-dropping, crystalline performances of this epic in '69, you can afford to start this one at Clementine.

Clementine > Death Don't is absolutely mesmerizing. We can talk a lot about the DS > Lovelight suite here, sure, but check the patience, texture, and beauty with which Clementine comes to life - soooo sad they didn't play this one more often - T.C. is, yes, high in the mix but I find that wonderful - he wasn't as good a player as Brent in terms of range, but was a vast improvement over Pigpen while in the band.

You're going to find Eleven > Lovelight a vastly different experience from Live/Dead - this one is raw, stripped of overdubs and 'fixes', left in all its ragged glory - the absolutely invisible transition between the tunes is among my most treasured of Dead moments; I think the sheer number of times I've listened to Live/Dead over these long years accounts for a lot of that!

Lovelight. Often I keep Pigpen's opus at arm's length - it's really a celebratory song and you have to be absolutely in the right frame of mind to really let this one get down and grab hold of your heart - with this version its simply impossible to stray from the commanding energy the band harnesses. There is nothing left to doubt as to what the Grateful Dead were about and were trying to be during the final surge to the finish - its eternal, final, perfect, the breathing embodiment of the extreme top crest of that psychedelic wave everyone was riding on in those days.

...and leave it on, indeed!

ps. That's Phil on the famous "take your hands out of your pockets" aside during Pigpen's rap, right? What a card.
Reviewer: AimlessDrifter - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 23, 2011
Subject: legend
Charlie Miller is as legendary as The Dead themselves. thank you... thank you...
Reviewer: Pangolin22 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 23, 2011
Subject: Love that Clementine!
The OO Suite is a bit ragged but everything from Clementine on is pure gold.
Reviewer: gvtmule - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 27, 2011
Subject: Indispensable
To me, this is really the culmination of this great era of the band which really began with the Jan '68 tour and ended in the summer of '69. Probably their loudest, heaviest, most psychedelic period. Most of us were weaned on Live Dead and its great to hear the songs in context of the shows. Its almost like they nailed the template of what they were trying to achieve and knew it was time to change. I don't think they ever topped Live Dead as a single musical statemnt. Of course they changed so much over their history, comparisons are tough and its all a matter of taste anyway.

This is a nice upgrade. The emotional punch of Death Dont is staggering. Jerry can really play the blues. The whole second set is awesome. I can only imagine what it would have been like to witness this in person and in such a cool venue too. 4 only because of the mix issues.
Reviewer: egg whyte - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 26, 2011
Subject: Almost All Great
This recording is much better than the previous night's, and the performance does not have nearly as many "lows" as the other two January Avalon dates posted here, however I still don't think that this qualifies as a great show. For one thing, its a little short (as many of the Avalon shows are). On top of the length, this performance of Dark Star is fairly pedestrian and St. Stephen is run of the mill for this time period (although run of the mill here is miles ahead of later versions). HOWEVER, Clementine and Death Don't Have No Mercy are fantastic (I don't know if the weird notes in the middle of Clementine are intentional or just another instance of the band's instruments flying out of tune, but it works this time), The Eleven is amazing and Lovelight is good fun to end it.
Reviewer: whatwasoncehishead - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 3, 2010
Subject: YES!!!
all three of these show are great, the fresh transfer is awesome! thank you infinitely!
this is most complete clementine!
clementine breakdown

intro 00.00 > 01.20
verse 1 1.20 > 02.25
volume swell interlude 02.25 >3.25
vamp on intro 03.25 > 04.24
verse 2 attempt 04.24 > 04.46
"recovery" jam 04.46 > 05.40
verse 2? again 05.40 > 06.14
riff section with jam 06.14 > 06.47
jam 06.47 > 7.50
riff recap (phil led) 07.50 > 08.16
jam like the intro vamp* 08.16 > 10.46
dissolving point 10.46 > 10.56

* alot could be said here, TC has some great arpeggios, right before the ten min mark there is a great apex with awesome layers.
info Stream Only
Stream playlist
( VBR )
In Collection
Grateful Dead
In Collection
Live Music Archive
Uploaded by
Matthew Vernon
on 9/2/2010
SIMILAR ITEMS (based on metadata)
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 26,146
favorite 80
comment 41
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 41 reviews )
Source: SBD -> Master Reel -> Dat (48k)
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 6,612
favorite 12
comment 12
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 12 reviews )
Source: SBD -> Master Reel -> Dat (44.1k)
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 17,304
favorite 68
comment 21
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 21 reviews )
Source: SBD -> Master Reel -> Dat (44.1k)
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 16,848
favorite 41
comment 17
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 17 reviews )
Source: SBD -> Master Reel -> Cassette -> Dat -> CD
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 18,192
favorite 18
comment 10
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 10 reviews )
Source: SBD -> Master Reel -> Cassette -> Dat -> CD
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 6,122
favorite 6
comment 4
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 4 reviews )
Source: SBD -> Master Reel -> Dat (44.1k)
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 4,765
favorite 13
comment 6
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 6 reviews )
Source: SBD -> Cassette Master (Ampex C-90) -> Dat (44.1k)
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 6,648
favorite 12
comment 8
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 8 reviews )
Source: SBD -> Master Reel -> Dat -> Sonic Solutions -> CD
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 3,707
favorite 4
comment 1
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Source: MSR>C>DAT>CD
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 2,915
favorite 4
comment 2
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 2 reviews )
Source: SBD -> Master Reel -> Dat (44.1k)